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The Machine God by MeiLin Miranda

A professor who's lost everything discovers a being who can do anything...except save itself 

Professor Oladel Adewole has lost tenure, and the beloved, much-younger sister he’s raised has died. With no reason to stay, he leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt.

One thing makes his new life bearable: the island floating a mile above the city. Adewole is an expert in the myths told all over the world about the island, but no one’s ever been there, nor knows how it got there.

When a brilliant engineer makes it to the island in her new invention, the government sends Adewole up with its first survey team. The expedition finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.

The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is—and what it can do—he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.

Note: The Machine God contains some graphic violence.


A complete novel

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Listed: Apr 2, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Style and Charm

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Jun 25, 2013: Poor Professor Adewole, grieving and homesick in a land without coffee! I bet he’s hoping they find some in the mysterious floating island in the sky.

Many webfiction readers will be familiar with Meilin Miranda’s other popular fantasy serials and be eager, as I was, to see what she does with the steampunk genre. (Is she going to put the steam in steampunk?, "Intimate History" fans may be wondering – so far it appears the answer’s "no" on that – she seems to be keeping this one to a G-rating!) This particular work is part of a series of novels by different authors taking place in the same world, complementary but independant. All can be purchased as ebooks, however I believe "The Machine God" is the only one also being presented as a serial.

And yes, the story is adeptly written, with a delicate, poignant, and gently humourous style. The pacing is gentle too, and so far I would call it charming rather than exciting. This is likely about to change, as the story has just gotten off the ground (literally) and taken flight (also literally) in Chapter 5. I get the feeling that having the novel parcelled out a few pages at a time once a week in its serial form is quite a different experience than reading through the complete book would be: it creates an illusion of a stretched-out beginning with more time to wonder about the delightful details of this strange but familiar world and its likewise gentle but stalwart protagonist.

It’s very Victorian Britain, complete with teapots, boarding houses, housemaids in calico, and a upper class young man referring to his friend as "old thing", but it’s definitely an alien world with its own geography, bizarre quirks like talking birds and, most germanely, the "Drifting Isle" of the series title hanging mysteriously overhead. Its being so typically Victorian, although not an alternate history of our own world, is, I suppose, no more disbelievable than the myriad fantasy worlds with medieval European culture and technology. It’s within the established steampunk conceit, and yet, it being a "science fantasy" rather than that "just" magic-fantasy, I can’t help being analytical and wondering things like: How did women’s liberation come so much earlier in this world (nobody bats an eye at female government leaders, engineers, and military personnel), and since it did, is it still normal for women to wear ankle-length skirts? Surely they don’t wear corsets, or do they? Did bloomers catch on? (The engineer/pilot is described as wearing a "divided skirt" under coveralls).

Fans of steampunk, fans of Meilin, fans of good writing, fans of artificial intelligences (surely that’s where this Machine God business is going???), appreciaters of coffee – that must cover just about everyone – will all want to check this one out.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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By MsGamgee89, member

Apr 20, 2013: What a great book, and novel concept! The Machine God paints a rich portrait of an incredible universe, combining hints of magic realism with a funky steampunk adventure, all while keeping its protagonist human, believable, and intensely lovable. Adewole will frustrate you at times, but only because he is so real; his naivete and willingness to trust those around him lead him into sticky situations, but his nature wouldn’t permit otherwise. The novel is a fast read, but an enjoyable one, and I highly recommend it.

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